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Omaha Poker – The next big thing!

Omaha poker is rapidly becoming one of the most played poker games worldwide and is now easily the second most popular variant of the famous card game, behind Texas Hold’em. How has this come to be?

Well, the answer is pretty simple! It’s jam-packed with excitement and requires great strategy!

It’s also pretty similar to Texas Hold’em, which is perfect for those who’ve played poker with us before, or beginners who have watched poker on television and now want to give it a go.

It also means that you won’t struggle to learn Omaha if you’ve dabbled in Texas Hold’em before.

Of course, feel free to check out our poker guide, which will get you up to speed.

The basics of Omaha poker!

1. What’s the difference between Hold’em and Omaha?

Basically, every player receives four cards in Omaha (instead of the two you’d usually get dealt in Texas Hold’em). From these four cards you select two to play with and two to ditch. You don’t have to do this until the end though, so you essentially have more chance of landing combinations.

2. How do you win in Omaha?

Like Texas Hold’em, Omaha is a community-card game, which is played with up to 10 players (of course, it can’t be played with just one). You win chips by winning a hand, and this can be done in one of two ways:

– All the players fold, leaving you the pot
– Beating another player’s hand at showdown

Poker is pretty simple when there’s only two ways to win!

3. Drawing for a dealer

Once you’ve got players around the table (the minimum is 2, of course),  you’re all ready to start. Firstly, the dealer will draw a card to everyone and the person with the highest is the ‘dealer’. Of course, if you’re already playing with a dealer, you’re not going to distribute cards. It’s just to determine who holds the dealer button. (If you’re playing at home, this is the way you find out who will deal first). If two players are dealt the same hand, there’s a re-deal between them, or the winner is chosen through the highest value suit (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades). Of course, this doesn’t apply to regular play!

4. Put out the dealer button

When you’ve determined who the dealer is, give them the dealer disk. This player – if you’re not playing with a dealer – shuffles the cards and distributes them out! Simple.

5. Organising the blinds

Before the cards are dealt, the two players directly to the left of the dealer must put in a small and big blind. The player next to the dealer is the small blind (half of the big blind), and second to the left is the big blind. The blinds are predetermined, and rise as the game goes along.

6. Dealing the cards

Once the blinds are out, the dealer then goes ahead and distributes the cards. We start with the player to the dealer’s left and move clockwise. Each player is dealt one card at a time, which is face down, until all players have exactly four cards.

7. The stages in Omaha

So, once all the cards have been dealt out, we then go on to the course of play:

– Flop: The first three cards are dealt out. (The betting begins)
– Turn: The fourth card to be dealt. (Here things start to heat up!)
– River: The fifth card to be dealt. (This is the deciding card and can be make or break!)

This is how the cards are dealt in both Omaha and Texas Hold’em!

The winning hands

Working out who’s the winner is a little trickier in Texas Hold’em Poker.

Here’s a quick cheat-sheet:

1) The hands in Omaha are the same as the hands in Texas Hold’em. Since you are dealt four cards, there’s the potential to land four pairs; unfortunately, that isn’t a hand in any game! (In this case – depending on the kind of Omaha you’re playing – you’ll have two pair.)

2) In Omaha, you must use two cards from your hand and three cards from the table, making the best hand possible.

3) The player can use one or two of his cards and three to four of the community (table) cards.

If the table shows: 3♥ 9♣ Q♣ K♠ A♦
Player 1 holds: 10♠ 9♣ 9♥ 2♦
Player 2 holds: 10♣ 2♣ 3♥ 4♥

Player one will hold ‘three of a kind’ 9s, while player 2 will hold a pair of threes. The 10♠ and 2♦ are disregarded in this case – essentially burned!

So, in the above example, player 1 would be the winner!

That’s it for this section of the Omaha guide. We’ll be exploring the difference between hi-lo and regular Omaha in the next article. If you think you’re up to speed already though, why not head on over to our poker tab and try Omaha out for yourself!